Ockert de Villiers.
The theatre season had ended in a spectacular fashion, providing the audience with a good variety of high drama and some comic relief.

But one can digest only so much before saturation is reached and when the curtain is drawn it is time for the show to move on.

Those among us with an unhealthy appetite for drama should not despair as South African athletics has started production of its latest satire.

Some of the previous cast members have been replaced after extensive auditions while minor changes have been made to the script.

The opening night of the latest show produced a well-rehearsed show which can only be described as a mishmash of drama, comedy and tragedy.

The latest South African athletics play takes place to the backdrop of boardrooms and courtrooms but never on the track, and makes no mention of the sport.

In the first act, Athletics SA (ASA), which is often framed as the villain, takes what seems to be a principled stance by suspending KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA).

KZNA has been a defiant figure among ASA’s members - reportedly taking the mother body to court on three occasions over the last year.

Given KZNA’s track record (which should not be confused with actual athletics) and love for the courts, the provincial body intended to apply for an interdict against the suspension but the matter was later withdrawn from the court roll.

In the third act, ASA appointed labour lawyer and sports administrator Jay Reddy as administrator tasked with ensuring “the smooth operation of activities related to athletes, coaches, clubs and all stakeholders”.

Providing some comic relief, KZNA practically thumbed their noses at ASA with the suspended board challenging the legitimacy of their suspension.

The “board” even threatened to press trespassing charges against anyone (read Reddy and by extension ASA) unlawfully entered its premises.

The tragedy of the production is that the actors forgot to rehearse the lines where they explain how the officials' actions benefit the audience or the athletes.

The script has remained the same, where either ASA or its provincial members are guilty of undermining the development of the sport through boardroom battles.

The plot has become stale and is pretty much a watered down version of previous productions where the administrators become so embroiled in their own selfish ambitions that they forget to serve the sport.

South African athletics do not need these actors and it is time they exit the stage left and allow for a new script to be written that has less drama and a lot more entertainment on the track than tragedy in the boardroom.


Saturday Star

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